Monday, 29 January 2018

En Garde! trial and the better part of valour

I joined in the fun at the Hamilton Road Games Group with the intention of playing one game and ended up playing another. When I arrived, a few people were playing the Sci-fi game "Sunder the Stars" using a lot of Star Trek ships. Another group were playing Osprey Publication's En Garde, a skirmish game set in the period of "The Three Musketeers." The first game ended rather abruptly, and I got in on the second game. The first game had minimal terrain and that was beefed up in the second game. Both Eric and I ran a small warband of 6 and 5 fighters respectively, musketmen, swordsmen, and a halberdier. Martin and his associate ran a similar group. The tighter terrain made for less distance shooting and there was a lot of hand-to-hand combat, which you'd expect with these rapier-swinging bravos. (Photos by Andy, Martin, and myself.)

Two of my swordsmen advance into the garden, trying to avoid being beguiled by M'Lady deWinter.

The view of my part of the warband. The coin was the objective.
Andy put one of his Kinder-egg surprises in the pond as the fountain.
The small white disk indicates a light wound on that figure. Wounds can accumulate until the figure is dead.
Or you can be killed right away.
In the first game, my swordsmen died by doing the stupid things I usually ask of troops under may command: you know, "Attack that swordmaster!", "Jump through that window!", "Hold your ground!" My musketmen, who had taken good sniper positions in a ruined house, fell back and left the field to the enemy. As I told Ralph, who was gamesmastering, "It's not my army!"

The second game saw an interesting mix. Martin fielded a force of Korean peasants from his list for Osprey's "Ronin", a Japanese Samurai-era skirmish game. One musketman, a number of archers, a few swordsmen, and one armoured swordsman. I fielded the same eleven man warband as before. Well, the Koreans die like flies... if you hit them. The archers have a slight advantage in that they don't have to spend time reloading, but they have a slightly tougher time wounding. Of course, Martin won and smacked my Portuguese mercenary band around with his peasants.

My one fellow with a partizan attempts to sneak up on a few peasants.
The Korean 'way to the right had armour under his clothing and was very hard to hit.

Martin's well timed photo of me taking a photo.
I found En Garde to be a fun, playable with some availability of simple dueling rules, such as attack, parry, riposte, and the "mighty blow." Firearms are matchlocks, firelock muskets, and pistols. Inaccurate and deadly if they hit, the balance is about right. The integration of the Ronin warband seemed rather smooth. (I've never played Ronin, so I can't say for sure.) I've got to try a Scots warband of muskets and sword and targe or an Irish warband of archers and Galoglaich. I have the figures so it shouldn't be a big issue. I look forward to trying it again. I'd even recommend the rules to those who would find skirmish gaming in this period interesting.

The Korean musketman, an archer, and a guy with a nasty polearm.

My commander attempts to lead some swordsmen to confront the Korean right flank.
A commander can issue a "Follow Me" order and have a crew of guy (if within 3 inches) move with him
and even more ahead of him.

Here Martin's team take out a few of Eric's figures and one
shoots through a house window at my advancing swordsmen,

The "chit"with the red mark indicates a light wound.
The swirly circle chit indicates that the figure is "stunned."
You can recover from a stun on the next turn... if you roll the proper number.

Confrontation at the hedge.

The armoured sword-bearer advances.

An aerial view of the action as my swordsmen advance through the one house.
Ralph's scratch-built houses all have removable roofs to allow movement or action indoors. 

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